My family loves meringue. I have made meringue cookies flavored with peppermint, vanilla, and chocolate chips for years. What’s not to love? A properly made meringue is equal parts light, crispy, and delicious. These cookies up the ante with the addition of sweet strawberry jam.
The prospect of making a meringue can seem daunting, but don’t be fooled. Successfully making a meringue is much more about technique than anything else. You don’t need fancy equipment or years of experience as a pastry chef. Instead, you need only a bowl, mixer, and a secret weapon: white vinegar.
Fat residue in your mixing bowl or on the beaters of your mixer is the mortal enemy of meringue. Fat will impair the egg white’s ability to be whipped into stiff, glossy peaks. You can prevent this disappointment with one teaspoon of white vinegar. Before beating the egg whites, simply wipe the mixing bowl and beaters with a paper towel lightly moistened with vinegar. Doing so will ensure that your bowl and the beaters are free of any traces of fat.
So go ahead and give it a try. In mere minutes, you’ll have a beautiful cloud of meringue ready to flavor and bake. You can drop the meringue by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet or use a piping bag to make beautifully decorative shapes. With a little practice, you can even make beautiful hearts for your Valentine. The baked hearts can be dipped in melted chocolate for an extra special Valentine’s Day treat.
Trust me, once you’ve mastered making the perfect meringue, you’ll be on your way to making a whole host of meringue based recipes. If you’re a henkeeper like me, you’ll love whipping fresh egg whites from your flock’s eggs into a mile high meringue before baking it to share with friends and family. If you’re looking for a few new recipes that feature meringue, I’d highly recommend Individual Baked Alaska or my Great Grandmother’s Daffodil Cake. Your family will be glad that you became a master at making fresh meringue!
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- 6 Tablespoons strawberry jam
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare a large mixing bowl and the beaters for your mixer by wiping with a paper towel lightly moistened with white vinegar.
- Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and position oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. If you have an oven thermometer, this is the perfect time to use it. An oven that is too warm will cause the delicate meringue to brown and the outside edge of the cookie to dry out. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place strawberry preserves in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds or until warm enough to stir easily with a spoon. Process warm preserves in food processor, blender, or using an immersion blender until smooth. Add vanilla extract to the smooth preserves and stir to combine. Set aside to cool as the meringue is prepared.
- Combine egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the prepared bowl. Mix on high speed until light and frothy. Continue to beat on high speed while adding the sugar one Tablespoon at a time. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks of meringue form. The meringue will be stiff and glossy and remain in the bowl when turned upside down. Gently fold in the strawberry mixture using a spatula. Fold until the mixture is well combined. I love the natural, pale pink color of the meringue. If you prefer a deeper, richer color, a few drops of food coloring can be added and folded into the meringue at this stage.
- One inch cookies can be formed using two spoons or a pastry bag. To use spoons, gently remove a spoonful of meringue from the mixing bowl and use the second spoon to slide the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet. A piping bag works well using a large round decorating tip.
- Bake the meringue cookies in the preheated oven for 90 minutes. When the meringue cookies are finished, they will have a dry exterior. Once they are cool, they will lift away cleanly from the parchment paper.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, the meringue cookies can be dipped in warm melted chocolate. Store cool cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.